Of Mothers and Opportunities for Service

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, May 10, 2014

PRAY God can hear you

Of Mothers and Opportunities for Service

Everyone has a mother. Or, in the case of some people, had a mother. For many, many people, this close, intimate relationship is precious, and conjures up wonderful memories. And then, there are others who do not have good memories of mothers, of families. Deep-seated memories, certainly, whether good or not-so-good.

Today is Mother’s Day here in the United States. I preached this morning on John 10 and Psalm 23, about the parable of the shepherd. Or more specifically, the shepherd’s voice. The sheep know the shepherd’s voice and recognize it, no matter what. Even when sheep go through dark valleys, still, the shepherd is right at their side, no matter what. Jesus called Himself the Shepherd—the Good Shepherd. And we are the sheep.

Are you going through dark valleys? Am I? Whatever kind of difficulty, or pain, or problem I may be going through, I know God is right by my side.

At least, I think I know. I hope I do. That is, sometimes.

I know of several serious, continuing situations that certain of my friends and acquaintances are going through. Of course, when I am acting as a chaplain, I try not to think of my own problems. (Stray, personal thoughts do happen to sneak in, from time to time, but I do try to focus on others.) I support others, and let them know that God is with them. God is with me, too. God wants a relationship with all of us. A loving, caring relationship, at that. I do believe it! Really, I do.

At the beginning of the year, I asked God to bless me with a daily opportunity o be helpful, loving, and to serve others. These opportunities for service are the things that I’m looking for, each day. The things I’m praying for. I’m concentrating on helpful, loving acts of ministry in order to get out of myself, and to be faithful to God. And—in order to develop a closer, deeper relationship with God.

In the past few days, God has put people in my path—several mothers, among them—who needed prayer for some serious reasons. Of course I offered prayer! I let these people know that God cares for them, and I do, too. I wanted to offer them possibility of a relationship, as well. A few of these people accepted my offer of prayer right there on the spot, and I intuited that I was able to help them. Or, more importantly, God was able to help.

Thanks, God! Even when I kinda, sorta doubt You. Even when others doubt You, too. You come through, and wrap us in Your arms of love, encouragement and care. Thanks!

@chaplaineliza

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Being Kind, Showing Love—To Myself!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, February 5, 2014

love for real

Being Kind, Showing Love—To Myself!

I know I’ve mentioned this before, and I suspect I’ll mention it again. I try to go to the gym on a regular basis. I see this as being a good steward of my physical self. I honestly do try to go to my local YMCA three times a week. This not only helps me physically, but also emotionally and psychologically, too. (I can point you towards applicable studies done by researchers at universities, and articles written up in peer-reviewed journals, if you’re wondering.)

The positive endorphins that bounce around my insides after a good round of cardio-vascular exercise ought to be enough to keep me coming back, time after time! But wait, there’s more! I not only get this positive feeling after exercise, but I also have the muscles in my core (or, torso) strengthened and toned, too. This helps me, in all kinds of ways. Now that I’m firmly in my fifties, I need every little bit of help I can get. If going to the YMCA three times a week helps me in all of these ways (and more, besides!), I would be just plain silly not to go.

I ran into Bill Geiger yesterday, the president of my local YMCA. He and I have a nodding acquaintance, and I hadn’t seen him for a number of weeks—not since December. I told him about this blog. I asked him whether he could think about positive, helpful acts of service at the Y, and let me know about them. He seemed really intrigued, and we stood there in the big exercise room and discussed acts of kindness for several minutes. He was quite approving, and urged me to continue with the blog.

Then—he got thoughtful for a moment, and told me about a pressing problem he has heard about, time and again. People working, acting, running—doing things for everyone else, but not thinking of themselves. Bill was quite concerned about this common tendency he had noticed, and lifted it up as a potential problem. I nodded, and agreed. Indeed, it is! Especially in our local community, where many people are outwardly-focused. Altruistic. God-centered. Mission-minded. (Whatever your preference.) Bill had to run, so we said good-bye. But Bill’s words stayed with me.

As I said at the beginning of this post, exercise is a marvelous way to deal with stress and worry, and a positive way to get the blood moving and heart pumping. Many gyms have exercise programs for most (if not all) levels, and some have personal trainers, massage therapists, and yoga and pilates instructors, too. (Check with a qualified medical professional before starting any physical program, though. Just to be sure it’s right for you.) However, there are additional ways of taking time for yourself. I’ve used prayer and meditation, listening to soft music, walking for pleasure, gardening, going to museums and zoos, meeting with friends, and a whole host of other helpful things to do. For self-care. For showing myself love and kindness. And God will be pleased that I’m not so stressed and worried, too.

What a wonderful reminder! I’ve got to thank Bill, next time I see him. And thank God for friends, too.

@chaplaineliza